Archive for February, 2010

Inspiration

…comes from surprising places.

Today it comes from underwater. There are astounding things that exist on this planet.

Octopus?

Glass Fish

Cow Fish

Piglet Squid

Use your brain and make something out of these badass creatures of the deep.

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15 illustrators to watch

I don’t profess to be some psychic who can predict what’s next in the often unstable world of art and design. Most of my favorite illustrators enjoy a modest success (which is actually the equivalent of being world famous, in the world of illustration), though one or two attain genuine fame of a sort. Maira Kalman was my childhood hero, for example. So here are 15 illustrators/artists who I have my eye on. Their work is varied and impressive, especially with the millions of derivative illustrators out there. Check them out!

(Jill Bliss)

Jill Bliss

Jill Bliss

(Lu Summers)

Lu Summers, illustration quilt

Lu Summers, illustration quilt #2

(Laura Berger)

Laura Berger

Laura Berger

(Christine Kesler)

Christine Kesler

Christine Kesler

(Christopher Russell)

Chris Russell

Chris Russell

(Kelly Allen)

Kelly Allen

Kelly Allen

(Hannah Stouffer)

Hannah Stouffer

Hannah Stouffer

(Alexander Jansson)

Alexander Jansson

Alexander Jansson

(Isabelle Arsenault)

Isabelle Arsenault

Isabelle Arsenault

(Dana Oldfather)

Dana Oldfather

Dana Oldfather

(Kate Banazi)

Kate Banazi

Kate Banazi

(James Jean)

James Jean

James Jean

(Souther Salazar)

Souther Salazar

Souther Salazar

Souther Salazar

(Colin Jenkinson)

Colin Jenkinson

Colin Jenkinson

Etc.
Is that 15? I didn’t even count.
Let’s all pay respect.

Let’s compare..

So I do spec design work sometimes for practice (I know, I know, it’s a travesty against the design profession, but I need all the practice I can get. Almost exactly a year ago, I came up with this design for a 99designs contest (I know, I know, 99designs is a terrible website where people can steal your work and blah blah.)

logo before

ooh, edgy

Ok, this was supposed to be for an edgy marketing company, and I tried to make it edgy. With little success. Now, a year later, I’m updating my portfolio, and I decided to re-vamp the logo to see how far I’ve come, design-wise, in a year.

logo after

...the after version

I don’t know about you, but I think it’s better. Not to toot my own horn, but I think I’ve improved a surprising amount in a year that has contained little design work, freelance, spec, or otherwise. Hope this helps me land a job.

Thoughts?

Lets talk about vacations

I’m all hopped up on ADD meds and anticipatory glee. My best friend and soulmate, the talented, lovely Leila Sales, of the hilarious The Leila Texts (which has been featured on the NYT blog and in some rather famous magazines) has gotten her first book deal. This means 2 things. One: she is just as amazing as I always thought, only now she has proof, and Two: she is taking me on a celebratory vacation. Yes, I realize that I am the luckiest of the lucky girls to have such a good friend.

So after months of deliberation, with both of us moaning random things about “villas” and “warm weather” to various travel agents, we finally just decided to book the vacation ourselves. The choice was between the Greek Islands, Tuscany, and Provence.

Now, it’s true, I do love the Greek Islands. I grew up reading Gerald Durrell’s sunny descriptions of his idyllic childhood catching bugs and frolicking amidst olive groves. Correlli’s Mandolin made the area seem lovely (you know, despite the whole World War II backdrop). But there was one thing that we were looking for, abstruse and conceptual as it was, and that was…a villa. Yes, villa means “house,” however that wasn’t what we meant by it. We mean…well I can’t describe it. Why don’t I just show it to you, since we found one and are going to be occupying it for a whole week in April!

villa

VILLA! See?

Note the outdoor arbor overgrown with vines? Yep. Villa. I plan on making home-made tomato-sauce by oven-roasting some local tomatoes and garlic, and then dipping some crusty italian bread in it. Or maybe putting it over orrechiette with some artisanal olive oil. You know, nothing fancy. Just the type of food you eat in Tuscany. Villa food, if you will.

villa

Interior villa shot

The inside of the villa is actually quite modern and nice. Since we will be staying outside Lucca, a medieval walled town somewhere in Tuscany, perhaps near Sienna (or not), all we need is some good books, some bicycles, and some cameras, and we’ll be set for a week. Leila has another novel to work on, and I’m trying to write a novel, too. Probably I’ll just spend all my time cooking and taking photos. God damn, how nice does that sound?

So just two more months and its bon voyage and a big middle finger to cold, snowy, dreary Boston.

Because we are jet-setters. And that’s what we do.

See ya, suckers.

Boston Valentine’s Day Gift Guide – For Him

In case you didn’t know, Valentine’s Day goes both ways (kind of like your boyfriend—rimshot!) If you want to get some pretty flowers, cupcakes, or anything I listed in my “For Her” gift guide a few posts ago, you’re gonna have to shell out yourself. Most guys would probably be satisfied with a hummer and a bottle of Jameson (or maybe I just need higher standards), but getting your special dude at least something a little original is a nice way of showing that you care. Otherwise who are you going snuggle with after an afternoon of Who’s the Boss? re-runs.

This gift guide is going to be a lot shorter than the girls one, because really, if I knew what guys wanted, I’d probably have a boyfriend. As far as I know, guys want sex, video games, and girlfriends who aren’t diagnosed sociopaths. And since there are no girls who aren’t at least 76% crazy, your boy toy is gonna have to settle. Make it up to him in other ways:

Food Gifts:

You can’ go wrong with bacon. And since you’re a girl, you can suck it up and actually cook something. I know that statement is a travesty of gender-role reinforcement and a gang of feminists will probably sneak in through my window tonight and bleed uterine lining on me, but I don’t care. If you bake your boyfriend These bacon donuts with maple glaze he will probably propose marriage–after telling you that you’re hotter than Scarlett Johanssen, with better boobs. And if you’re too lazy to make something (like me), take him out to dinner atRedbones for the best barbecue in Boston. Yeah, I said it. It’s better than the East Coast Grill, unless it happens to be Hell Night, but that doesn’t come near VDay, so Redbones gets my vote. Pro tip: you can drown yourself in margaritas while he can choose from the 28+ beers on tap. 

Redbones

What says romance like a huge pile of meat?

Food Gift Runners Up: Well, it depends on what kind of boyfriend you have. If he’s one of those post-meta-neo-hippies from Somerville or Jamaica Plain who listen obsessively to Neil Young and dress like Devendra Banhart, hang out at the Diesel Cafe reading the Weekly Dig and drinking chai, no problemo. Take him to The Boston Cheese Cellar, and watch him get lost in locavore heaven. Balsamic vinegar or whatever–he’ll be happy. If, on the other hand, you’ve got the kind of boy who’s seen Independence Day 400 times, gets all geeked out for Comic-con, and eats at Taco Bell 3 times a week…take him out for a scoop at Christina’s, which is basically the best ice cream in the country. Coconut butterfinger and burnt sugar is such a good combo it will make you both forget that it’s an arctic subz-zero wasteland outside, and it won’t get any better until April.

ice cream

Yeah, that's right. Winter, go fuck yourself.

Gifts for classy gentlemen:

Wiley Valentine has beautiful letterpress cards and printed ephemera. If you have an artsy boyfriend, he’ll appreciate the craftstmanship. If you don’t have an artsy boyfriend, Bioshock 2 is coming out soon. Or Dante’s Inferno is on it’s way, if your guy is more of a fan of lyric poetry than obectivism.

Bioshock 2

Be a Big Sister to your boyfriend. But not in an incestuous creepy way.

Ok, I’m going to stop pretending that I know anything about the male organism. All my past relationships have been based on vaguely schizophrenic attraction and mutual love of books. So I’m going to post some books here and then be done with it. Sorry, dudes. I’m relatively sure you only care about VDay because you think your girlfriend cares.

Book Gifts

Get him The Complete Calvin and Hobbes, because it’s a classic.
Get him the brilliant Achewood: The Great Outdoor Fight (he’ll go over the moon)
Get him Watchmen, The Sandman series, Marvel Zombies, or Hellblazer.
Get him anything by Kurt Vonnegut or Charles Bukowski. Guys dig that stuff.
Get him Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain. He’s a bad-ass, and he writes like one.
Or get him Beatles Rock band, because no guy is gonna say no to that.

Bourdain

Cooking with cocaine...

Have a happy Valentine’s Day, dudes. Don’t worry–most girls hate it too. Really, it’s just an excuse for sex and chocolate. Treat it as such.